Asian Theatre Journal 23.2 (2006) 423-424
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This book is a reprint of the 1980s translation of Cyril Birch, but more than the original in that the book gives an introduction by Birch that covers the production history of the play and adds a new essay by Catherine Swatek on recent productions of the work. For those who wish to teach this kunqu opera in the context of the recent performances in the United States, including Chen Shi-zheng's Lincoln Center production and the Peter Sellars production, Swatek's essay offers informative coverage of both of these, plus an additional production in Beijing. Swatek's discussion situates all three productions within the performance traditions of kunqu in general and The Peony Pavilion specifically.
This anthropological study of the religious conflict in Ladakh uses a borders approach and does social analysis of artistic practice. The interest of the author is to explicate the religious and political conflict, and the actual performance material is chosen for this focus. Therefore, one comes away with understanding of the accelerating conflict but limited understanding of theatre performance in itself. The book includes chapters on recent Independence Day celebrations, festivals, songs, films, and sporting events of the area. Little attention is devoted to theatrical narrative, but changing artistic practice is apparent in this political and social analysis. [End Page 423]
This issue of Australasian Drama Studies follows the growing multicultural influence in music theatre of Australia via productions that show the influence of Aboriginal culture in works such as Bran Nue Dae, by Jimmy Chi, and Sumatran randai such as The Butterfly Seer, written by Indija Mahjoeddin.
This compilation of plays by the Asian American author Philip Kan Gotanda is preceeded by a brief but informative forward by Stephen Sumida and preface by the author. The material deals significantly with the Japanese experience in California and Hawai'i. Stylistically, plays often follow Euro-American conventions of theatrical realism and dramatic structure. Sisters Matsumoto (1998) references Chekov's Three Sisters as three sisters returning from a Japanese AmericanWorld War II interment camp see their dreams slipping away. The Wind Cries Mary is loosely based on Hedda Gabler and looks at the emergence of Asian American identity politics on West coast campuses in the 1960s. The Ballad of Yachihiro (1994) looks at Japanese American experience on Kauai in a way that combines stylization and realism. Two one-acts (White Manifesto and Other Perfumed Tales of Entitlement and Natalie Wood Is Dead) conclude the volume. This work shows how authors such as Gotanda, emerging from the Asian American movement, continue to use drama to put Japanese America center stage.